Eloise Head Of Fitwaffle Discusses Her New Book And How To Balance Desserts And Health - Exclusive Interview

If you don't know the name Eloise Head, perhaps you'll recognize her other name: Fitwaffle. It's under that name that she's racked up millions of followers on Instagram and TikTok.

When Head started posting about her fitness and eating regimens on Instagram in 2015, she could have never envisioned where her internet career would bring her. The Fitwaffle account moved beyond fitness and started to focus on food influencer content. Then, during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, it entered its current form: a baking account where Head posts indulgent recipes for yummy desserts. A gifted baker, she posts a wide variety of recipes, but her signature is her effortless three-ingredient desserts.

Now, after conquering the internet, Eloise Head has released a book called "Baking It Easy" that includes some never-before-seen recipes. We talked to her about the book, her wild social media journey, and what exactly a Fitwaffle is. Don't worry — she shared some baking tips, too.

The meaning of Fitwaffle

What inspired the name Fitwaffle?

Fitwaffle is a combination of my two passions. The "fit" part means fitness and the "waffle" part means food, but it also has another meaning. The "fit" part also means fitting all different foods into your diet, and the "waffle" part also means waffling on, which is British slang for talking a lot. It felt like the perfect name for me and what I do.

Is that why you picked "waffle" specifically? Because it has that double meaning?

That was one reason. At the time of creating it, I was actually eating a lot of waffles in the morning for breakfast. All I wanted to eat was waffles, and I was like, "This is perfect."

When you started out, you posted a mix of fitness and food content, and as time has gone on, it shifted to mostly food. What was the source of that shift?

I always enjoyed posting the food content a lot more than I enjoyed posting the fitness content, and I always found that the food content performed a lot better than the fitness content did. You always want to go with what people want to see, so I started posting more and more food content, because that's what people seem to want. The fitness content got pushed to the side, and I basically became a food account. It was almost a London food guide when I first started because I was going into restaurants, into street food markets around London, and documenting and posting mostly pictures of what I was eating and what I was going to see.

How did you pick the food you featured during that phase of your account?

Generally, from other things that I'd seen on Instagram. I would research different places using Instagram to see what looked good, and I would want to go to those places. Then sometimes you'd end up at, say, a street food market. There are loads of different options there, so you might have gone for one thing and you end up trying four or five different things.

Lessons from being a personal trainer

Until recently, you were a personal trainer. Do you think that side of your life taught you any lessons you use in the food and internet side of your life?

Definitely. When I was a personal trainer, that was the phase when I was learning to enjoy all foods in moderation. Before becoming a personal trainer, I had quite a bad relationship with food where I would massively restrict myself because I saw foods as being good or bad rather than being able to have balance and being able to enjoy all different foods. As I educated myself more in nutrition, and I worked with people and spoke to other trainers and learned more on the internet, I learned over time that I didn't necessarily need to exclude certain foods from my diet. I just needed to enjoy these foods in moderation. That's my message now.

In today's society, we are all about fad diets, "You shouldn't eat this," "You can't eat this," "No carbs," and "You shouldn't eat after 6:00 p.m." There's so many rules that we put on food that we hear but that don't have any actual solid evidence behind them. That's what I learned over my six years as a personal trainer. It played quite a big part in my learning about food.

What do you think are the negative effects of focusing too much on clean eating?

When you restrict yourself, it can be bad for you mentally because whenever you restrict yourself from something, you feel deprived. When you feel deprived of something, you are more likely to binge or overeat that certain thing because you view it as a bad thing. It's almost put on a pedestal because it's out of reach. By being able to enjoy foods in moderation, you take away that pedestal that you put certain foods on and it becomes just another food. When it becomes another food, you don't feel like you have to overindulge in it, and you can take it or leave it out of personal choice.

Balancing desserts and fitness

What do you think about the idea of treating yourself or using food as a reward?

I prefer not to use the word "treat." That's a personal preference, because when you say "treat yourself," it assumes that you are treating yourself with a bad food that's off-limits. With moderation, you can have it not as a treat — it can be part of your daily diet. I tend to use the word "treat" as more like an experience. I might say, "I'm going to treat myself to go for a nice dinner," but that's because I'm going to go out, I'm going to spend some time with my fiance, I'm going to get dressed up, we're going to go spend some money on some nice food. There's more to it than eating a bar of chocolate.

How do you balance fitness with being surrounded by sweets as a professional baker?

It's funny because I use the gym now as more of a break from work rather than a means to lose weight or to stay in shape or anything like that. Yes, that's definitely a reason, but at 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. or whenever I can get away from the house and get away from work, it's a nice release.

I try not to go on social media at the gym. I literally put my headphones in, I listen to music or a podcast, and it's time for me to release some energy and clear my mind. In the past, I would've used it purely for my aesthetic — what I looked like or to lose weight. But my mindset's changed on that over the past three or four years quite a lot. It's almost an escape from the kitchen now.

Eloise Head's eating routine

What does a normal day of eating look like for you?

When I wake up, depending on when I feel hungry, I'll generally have some sort of Greek yogurt for breakfast. That might be Greek yogurt with some fruit and honey. Again, it all depends on how hungry I am. This isn't necessarily set in stone because every day is different, but I might have a little snack. If I bake something in the morning, it might be a small piece of that.

Mid-afternoon, I'll have my lunch. That's generally something quite quick and easy because I'm very busy during the daytime. My meals during the day are very quick, hence the yogurt. Then I'll have a sandwich that might be filled with ham or some sort of meat. I'll have that with lettuce, tomatoes, and some chutney or something.

I might have another snack before I go to the gym, depending on how hungry I am. That could be some little chicken bites, or even a protein bar every now and then. Then for dinner, dinner varies quite a lot, but it will be some protein, generally chicken or fish. I'll have some sort of carbohydrates, so that will be mashed potatoes or rice or something like that. I'll have a side of vegetables as well. That might be broccoli, peas, or cauliflower, depending what's in season or whatever's in my freezer at the time.

We'll usually always have a dessert. That could be something that I've made in the daytime or the day before or that's left over, or it might be a small ice cream from the freezer or something. I have a sweet tooth, as you can tell.

Why she started baking and her perfect burger

Have you always loved baking?

I have. When I was younger, me and my sister would always go to my great auntie's house whilst my mom and dad were at work. When we were off school, she would take us in for the day, and we would basically bake all day. She would teach me how to make things like jam tarts and make lots of different things with pastry. We'd make cookies, we would make easy sponge cakes, apple dumplings, all of those sorts of things.

She'd also teach me how to make my own lunch. She'd teach me how to boil rice with a stock cube and how to make chicken taste good. My love of baking probably first came from her. When I was older and I didn't need to go around to her house as much, whenever there was an occasion or an excuse for me to bake or make something at home, I would take that opportunity to get creative and learn how to bake something new.

You used to post a lot of burgers on Instagram. Can you describe your ultimate burger?

My ultimate burger wouldn't be too big, because that can ruin it sometimes. I would have a juicy but crispy smashed patty as the meat. I'd have either a potato bun or a nice soft bun with sesame seeds on the top. I would probably have some mayonnaise, a little bit of American cheese — I don't like too much cheese — and maybe some grilled onions. [It adds] that bit of sweetness, that bit of caramelized flavor in there. Maybe bacon — I can take or leave the bacon, to be honest. If I do have bacon, it has to be thin, crispy bacon.

I don't think I need to go too overboard. Once I had a burger with strawberry jam in it, and it was actually amazing because it had that sweetness in it. That's what I like from the onion. It breaks up the fattiness of it. Maybe [I'd want] the hint of sweetness — either that's caramelized onions or even some chutney or jam. That would be nice.

The best baking recipes for beginners

How do you go about creating your three-ingredient recipes?

I generally try to focus on a flavor first, whether using something like Oreos or Nutella or Biscoff spread. I start with the flavor and then add the ingredients to turn it into something different.

For example, when I make fudge, it's always the same base. I'll use a tin of condensed milk and around 500 grams of white chocolate. I will add in from there the flavors I want — so I'll work out how many Oreos I want to put in to get the right amount, and then that's my Oreo fudge. Or if I want to make Biscoff fudge, then I might add in the Lotus cookies and the Biscoff spread and mix that in, or swirl it on top or something.

A lot of it is finding a base and adding different flavors to it to change it up a little bit, or finding the product first and then working out what I need to turn it into a cake or a mug cake or whatever it might be, a milkshake.

Does it require a lot of experimentation to arrive at the formulas that work?

If I'm trying something brand new, even something as simple as a mug cake, it doesn't always work the first time. If I'm trying something like fudge that's already got a base that I know that works, I'm pretty confident that it's going to work with a different flavor.

I have the odd fail when experimenting with a base because sometimes it doesn't work, and then I have to figure out what went wrong and fix it. But generally, if I've got a base, I'm pretty confident.

What recipes would you recommend for somebody with no baking experience?

Fudge is a really easy one because it is just getting the base right. As long as you don't stop stirring, then you're not going to burn it. It's pretty easy to make — follow the instructions.

What other one would be easy? ... Even without any baking experience, brownies are quite foolproof. As long as you follow the recipe properly and let it cool afterward and put it in the fridge, it's hard to go wrong with a brownie. The biggest mistake people make with brownies is they don't cook it for long enough, and they cut it warm and wonder why it all falls apart. But as long as you follow the instructions, brownies are a good one.

The challenge of cooking live on stage

What are some of your favorite British desserts?

I'm trying to think about what is classed as fully British. Sticky toffee pudding is one of my favorite British desserts. I also love a Victoria spongecake, which is a plain sponge with lots of jam and lots of buttercream icing in it. That's always nice. I also do an afternoon tea with a scone with cream and jam, which is classed as a dessert.

You just did your first-ever onstage cooking demonstration at the Big Feastival. How did that go?

It was amazing. I actually really enjoyed it, and there was a nice crowd as well. When you go up on stage, you're always nervous that people aren't going to come watch you, but there was a good crowd and there was a lot of positive feedback afterward, so that was fun. It's funny because things go wrong when you are cooking live on stage. I tipped some of the flour out of my bowl [and] I think I forgot to add the salt, but other than that, it went well.

Was it a very different experience from creating TikTok or Instagram content?

Absolutely. It's totally different. Even though what you are doing with your hands is very similar, when I'm in my kitchen, it's total silence because I want the sounds of the ingredients going into the bowl. It's me pressing my camera button, doing the movement, and then pressing my camera button again — whereas on stage, I'm talking and not concentrating so much on what I'm doing. It's two totally different parts of my brain working.

Creating 'Baking It Easy'

How did you pick the recipes that you featured in "Baking It Easy?"

50% are on my social media and 50% are brand new. For the ones from my social media, I wanted to pick ones that have been super popular that I knew people would really like, so I needed to make sure that they were in the book. With the new ones, I wanted to make sure that they were almost your basic recipes but were still interesting.

If someone wanted to make a basic triple-chocolate, thick, fudgy brownie, that is in there — same with cookies. If you want to make a thin, chewy cookie, that recipe is in there. I tried to experiment and play with different ingredients. I wanted to make sure that there was a range of chocolatey recipes, caramel recipes, and fruity recipes because I didn't want a whole book of chocolate or a whole book of fruit. It was trying to balance how many three-ingredient recipes were in there versus what flavors were in there versus what was new and what was from my social media. All of that helped me decide what recipes to put in the book.

Do you feel like you had more freedom to include those more basic, classic recipes in a book than on Instagram or TikTok?

Absolutely. On Instagram or TikTok or whatever the social media platform is, you are always trying to grab someone's attention. There almost needs to be a hook, whereas sometimes you do want to make something quite basic — a basic sponge cake, for example. In the book, it was quite nice to include some more simple recipes that someone who was learning could use. If they want to add their own ingredients to it, whether that's chunks of Oreos or a swirl of peanut butter or something, they have the option to do that, but they've got the basics.

Do you think this is a good book for beginners?

Absolutely. That was my target audience, you could say. When I was first getting into baking, it always seemed very intimidating and very complicated. I wanted to make the most un-intimidating, least complicated book I possibly could, so if someone was totally new to baking, they could pick it up and think, "I can make so many of these recipes and not feel intimidated by it." That was the aim of the book.

Why she wants Gordon Ramsay to cook her dinner

Who is one chef that you'd want to cook dinner for you?

It's got to be Gordon Ramsay, hasn't it? I see him all over my TikTok, and he's always criticizing what other people are doing. I want him to cook dinner for me.

Would you choose the menu, or would you want him to do whatever he wanted?

I'd want him to do whatever. I'd want him to say, "This is what I'm making you," and he'd probably say, "and you will like it."

What's one ingredient you can't live without?

Without saying the basics, like sugar, eggs, or flour, the ingredient that I love to cook with has got to be Oreos. The flavor of Oreos makes desserts so much better.

Do you like Oreos by themselves, or do you like them more when they're in recipes?

I like Oreos by themselves, but I do like them more when they're in something. The flavor of an Oreo milkshake is better than the Oreo on its own. Don't tell Oreo I said that.

If you eat fast food, what place is your favorite, and what do you get when you're there?

The place that I visit the most has to be McDonald's. I'm a chicken nugget person, so I'll get chicken nuggets with fries and a Sprite Zero or something.

When I come to America, I really like Panda Express, but we don't have Panda Express over here.

Maybe someday it'll jump the pond.

Maybe one day. I would love that.

Eloise Head's book, "Baking it Easy," is out now. You can buy it here.

This interview was edited for clarity.